Erin & Denali

Denali and friend

My husband adopted Denali (Nali) from the Iowa City Animal Center in 2007 as a fluff ball of a puppy.  She moved around the country with us as we pursued different educational and vocational opportunities.  She probably had the most fun in Washington state and Arizona, where she got to go hiking most weekends.

Nali and I have been a pet therapy team visiting nursing homes, hospitals, and mental health events and facilities since 2014.  She elicits pets from everybody, and especially enjoys any events that involve treats.

What is your favorite activity to do together?  

Nali loves to play tug of war with her toys and wrestle.  She only plays fetch if it involves taking toys away from her doggie brother 🙂

 What’s Nali’s favorite treat and favorite toy?

Nali comes running when she hears carrots on the cutting board, and she prefers stuffed toys from which she’s removed all the stuffing.

 What do you like most about helping people through TDJC?

Spreading the joy of the presence of a dog with people that don’t get that special companionship everyday.

 What’s the best story you have about one of your visits?

There have been so many times that I’ve heard people say “Nali made my day,” or have I’ve seen them smile or cry with joy.  But there was one elderly gentleman who never showed that type of emotion.  However, we visited him one day during a physical therapy session when he’d been making an effort to stand out of his wheelchair for about half an hour.  After visiting with Nali, he stood up out of his wheelchair and took a few steps, which was a huge accomplishment for him.